Cardiovascular Disease


When you think about your own risk for cardiovascular diseases, many things come to mind as fatty foods, lack of exercise, and genetics. However, periodontal disease is another factor. Periodontitis is a bacterial infection of the gum and bone that support your teeth. Recent studies suggest that people with periodontitis may have twice the risk of having a fatal heart attack as those without periodontitis.

There are several reasons why periodontal bacteria may affect your heart. In the presence of gum disease, normal tasks such as chewing or brushing your teeth may allow bacteria poisons to enter the bloodstream and irritate the blood vessel linings and/or enhance the chances that small blood clots will form and clog your arteries. Another possibility is that inflammation caused by periodontitis may release chemicals into your blood that contribute to the buildup of fatty deposits inside your arteries.

In addition, in periodontal disease triggers the livers to produce C-reactive protein (CRP)’s, which inflame the arteries and cause blood clots that can lead to heart attacks.

Periodontal disease can also aggravate certain kinds of existing heart conditions, especially when there has been previous damage to the heart. According to the American Heart Association, patients at risk for a disease called infective endocarditis may need to take antibiotics prior to dental procedures.

Copyright © 2005 The American Academy of Periodontology